Amongst the relics of my fishing childhood, was this pair of home-made lead weights. I believe that they are a type called a spoon, which is also a name more commonly applied to a type of spinning lure. I don’t know if the spinners were ever actually made from spoons, or if the name just refers to their shape, but my spoon weights were certainly made using such cutlery. It’s probably self-evident from their shape that they were created simply by using molten lead with a spoon as a mould and some wire (in one it’s a brass safety pin) to form the attaching point. I don’t suppose there are many people who can (or would want to) say they’d spent a winter evening in front of the living-room fire, with their dad melting lead and to make fishing weights, but to me such fettling didn’t seem unusual and for the old man it certainly wasn’t.

This was a man who, lacking a workshop, but not the need to put bread on the table, stripped and rebuilt a Landrover gearbox in a wheelbarrow in the back hall.

A big part of fishing, if not our rural(ish) life in general involved making do with what came to hand – though not it has to be said because we were thrifty – just skint. Quite a bit of my fishing tackle was what we today would call upcycled. My “tackle box/seat” was a metal container, I’d got hold of, with a car seat belt that I pestered the old man for as a strap. It was wholly unsuitable. It weighed a ton, was buttock numbingly uncomfortable and clanked like a Sherman tank as I struggled to the waterside.

My “rod holdall” was similarly ugly, but this was at least properly functional. I’d created it from a thick clear plastic sleeve used to protect a new Ford Fiesta bumper. Consequentially it had the car manufacturer’s logo all over it. I folded over and sealed one end with bright yellow insulating tape. The other end was folded over and held closed by a loop of string attached to an old army webbing strap which, similarly looped over the other end, formed the carrying strap. A thing of beauty it was not, but it held my rod, net handle and bank sticks, was easy to carry, waterproof and cost nothing. My float boxes were made of whatever suitable plastic containers I could find. The longer ones were in something that had been a battery holder for an old camping lamp. The shorter ones were in bright blue boxes which had held replacement car wheel bearings.

All of this making do has had a strange and dichotomous effect on me. Not only do I buy any tackle that I want pretty much without hesitation, but I’ve also been making a few bits and pieces. Mostly they have been functional such as rod rests and bait boxes, but these quill floats also have a decorative side as well. They’re far from perfect, I haven’t got the paint consistency right and the paintbrush wasn’t ideal right for the job, but as a first attempt I’m quite pleased with them.

And their container is upcycled too.

 

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